tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 4, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
06/04/14 06/04/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! let me just make a very simple point here, and that is, regardless of the circumstances, whatever the circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an american soldier back. period. full stop. >> as controversy brews over whether sergeant bergdahl should have been traded for guantánamo
prisoners and whether he should be investigated as a deserter, we will speak with james branum, lawyer or presenting military deserters and conscientious objectors, and charles glass, the former abc news chief released correspondent. his book, "the deserters: a hidden history of the second world war." it was published last year. he, as a reporter, was held for several months hostage as well. then we will mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of dr. george tiller. >> i would prefer personally to have a challenging, stimulating, emotionally and spiritually rewarding career that is short rather than have a long one that is filled with mediocrity, feeling as if you don't make any difference to people. >> we will speak with dr. cheryl
chastine, medical director and primary abortion provider at the south wind women center, which opened last year. each week she travels from chicago to wichita to provide 's former in dr. tiller clinic. she is faced a barrage of anti-choice arrest meant. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. announcedilitary has a probe of the circumstances surrounding army sergeant bowe bergdahl's disappearance in afghanistan that led to his five-year capture. he was freed over the weekend in a prisoner swap with the taliban. despite winning the freedom of the loan known you as prisoner of war, the deal has come under republican attack amidst reports or doll voluntarily left his base after growing opposed to
the war in afghanistan. the white house has apologized to key lawmakers for failing to notify them of the prisoner swap in advance. senator dianne feinstein said she received a call monday night. >> i did have a call last night from the white house. they -- he apologized. >> are they acknowledging the law was broken in the apology? >> i did not ask for that. >> the taliban has released a video showing bergdahl's handover to u.s. special operations forces saturday. we will have more on this story after the headlines. egypt's former military leader el-sisi has officially been declared the winner of the country's presidential race, taking over 96% of the vote. turnout was just 44%, compared to the 50 two percent in the election of former president mohamed morsi in 2012. sisi led the military coup that
ousted morsi last year. he will become the sixth military leader to rent egypt since the army overthrew the monarchy in 1952. he is expected to be sworn in on sunday. some international observers have claimed election failed to meet democratic standards, citing an environment of repression by the military backed regime. in a statement today, the white house congratulated sisi but said it "we share concerns about the restrictive political environment in which the selection took place." president obama is expected to speak with sisi in the coming days. in a development many are linking to the regime's crackdown on dissent, egypt's most popular satirist has announced he's taking his program off the air. broadcast haves been compared to "the daily show" fritz committed take on politics in egypt and the middle east. youssef said he is ending his show rather than face insertion and threats on his life. he suggested the military regime
has made it impossible for him to continue. president obama has met with the ukrainian president-elect petro poroshenko as part of a continued swing through europe. obama said down with him in poland after calling on congress to support a $1 billion plan to ramp up the u.s. military presence across the european continent. itsa said nato is expanding presence across europe following russian interference in ukraine. >> given russia's actions in ukraine, nato has increased its presence across the region from the baltics to the black sea. i think our allies for the contributions they're making, and i will be discussing the initiative that i announce today to bolster the was presence in europe. >> u.s. is renewing diplomatic ties with somalia for the first time in 23 years. the state department says improving security conditions will lead to the appointment of a u.s. ambassador and the inpening of the was mission
mogadishu. announcing the move, state department spokesperson wendy sherman said the u.s. will also continue to launch military strikes in somalia as it sees fit. >> as reflection both of the deepening relationship with the country and of our faith that better times are ahead, the president will propose the first u.s. ambassador to somalia and more than two decades. we look for to the day when both nations have full-fledged diplomatic mission in the capital of the other from time to time, the us military has conducted such actions in somalia against a limited number of targets who, based on information about their current and historical activities, have been determined to be part of al qaeda. and in the future, we may take action against those that oppose the continuing imminent threat to u.s. persons. >> although diplomatic ties have been frozen, the u.s. has
maintained a military and intelligence contingent inside somalia for years, running a cia base and launching drone strikes. the nigerian government has reversed an order banning demonstrations for the return of over two hundred missing schoolgirls. the police commissioner and the capital had announced protest were no longer allowed over fears they could be hijacked by violent extremists. protesters flooded nigeria's high court in defiance. an attorney for the "bring back our girls" campaign threatened to challenge the ban in court. from preventing a group of nigerians to demonstrate and protest peacefully. it is not only illegal, it is contempt which is a criminal offense. offense.riminal we are also launching a complaint to the attorney
general. >> a report in the nigerian media today says 10 military generals have been found guilty of aiding the boko haram, the militant group behind the girl's kidnapping and scores of other attacks. the nigerian government has denied the claim. thousands of people are gathering in hong kong today to mark the 25th anniversary of the crackdown in beijing's kinnaman square, when chinese forces crushed student protesters. on june 3 and fourth, 19 89, the chinese military killed an untold number of unarmed civilians in beijing and other cities after weeks of nonviolent protests. in china, the government has arrested activists and stepped up its censorship of commemorative websites leading up to the anniversary. dozens of riot police have also been deployed today around 10 men square. parts of the central united states are being hit with severe storms, bringing flooding and tornadoes, and baseball sized
hail. major damage has been reported in area north of omaha, nebraska. a local resident survey the damage to his home. >> it was about 4:00 when it hit. it came through like a freight train. it sounded like the world was coming to an end almost. it was bad. we all went to the basement. whenever a comment down little bit, we went upstairs and although windows is gone and the house and all the siding is gone. >> the storms of also hit parts of kansas, iowa, and missouri as a now move further east. a national climate assessment from the white house last month listed stronger storms and extreme rainfall as one of the outcomes of human-driven climate change in the united states. those were held in eight states on tuesday as the midterm primary season continues. the mississippi, republican senator thad cochran, a six-term incumbent, appears headed for a runoff against two-party challenger chris mcdaniel. four of his supporters were
arrested last month for a plot to break into retirement home and take pictures of cochran's good written wife. in what's expected to be competitive race this fall, i will republican joni ernst will square off against democrat bruce braley. the obama administration is reviving a law enforcement group focusing on politically motivated domestic terrorism. the first task force was established after the bombing of the oklahoma federal building and i-295, but was disbanded after the 9/11 attacks. the justice department says it is reestablishing the unit following a spate of attacks from homegrown extremists. in april, a white supremacist killed three people at two jewish community sites in kansas. six people have been wounded in shooting of chicago laundromat. two of the victims were teenagers, with one in critical condition. a witness described the scene. >> it sounded almost like
fireworks. i looked out my bedroom window, and i see some young guys running. i don't know if they were victims were the perpetrators, but it is kind of sad because the little kids can't really play outside anymore. >> chicago has grappled with some of the worst gun violence in the country. a recent proposal from their rahm emanuel calls for videotaping all gun sales and limiting them to one per month. of the national security agency has distanced himself from previous government suggestions that whistleblower edward snowden is a foreign spy. officials including former nsa director general keith alexander have contended that snowden may have worked with russian or other foreign intelligence agencies. but at a public forum with bloomberg news, the new nsa chief michael rogers shot down that theory. >> do you really believe he fundamentally believes in what he did or do you think you could have been working for someone else as a double agent?
>> could he have? possibly. do i believe that is the case? probably not. >> new york city teachers have overwhelmingly approved a new contract, ending a long-running and bitter dispute. the nine-year deal, $4 billion, will increase a by 18% to could lead to higher health care premiums. it is expected to serve as a model for other municipal unions locked in contract disputes. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the taliban has released a video reportedly showing the handover of army sergeant bowe bergdahl to u.s. special operations forces five years after he was taken captive. in the video, a clean-shaven bergdahl is shown sitting in a pickup truck prior to his release. one of the men tells him "don't
come back to afghanistan. next time we catch you, you won't leave here alive." he is then brought out of the truck as a blackhawk helicopter lands in a nearby open field. two of the men, one waving a white flag, lead or gall to meet three men and what appear to be civilian close. the men had him down and flash a thumbs-up, then lead them into the helicopter where u.s. soldiers appear to be waiting. seconds later, the helicopter lifts off. bergdahl was released over the weekend in exchange for five high-ranking taliban militants who had been held at guantánamo bay. the white house has apologized to keep lawmakers for not notifying them of the prisoner swap in advance. speaking with reporters on tuesday, senator dianne feinstein said she received a call monday night. >> unless something catastrophic happened, i think there is no reason to believe that he was an instant danger. there certainly was time to pick up the phone and call and say, i know you all had concerns about this.
we consulted in the past and we want you to know we are pretty these negotiations. it would give us an opportunity to ask russians and hopefully obtain answers. that was not there, so therefore, we are hit with a certain set of circumstances, intelligence that we knew, policies that we knew, that were changed and at law that was essentially disregarded. >> [indiscernible] speaker boehner did not find out until saturday. >> i'm not going to get into that. >> have you had an apology from the white house for how this was handled? >> yes, i did have a call last night from the white house. and they apology -- he apologized. >> are their knowledge and the law was broken? >> we did not ask for that. it is obvious. >> john boehner has endorsed a call for congressional hearings
to look into the administration's handling of the prisoner swap. senator john mccain also criticized the deal that led to bergdahl's release. >> this decision to bring sergeant bergdahl home, and we applaud that he is home, is ill founded. it is a mistake and it is putting the lives of american servicemen and women at risk, and to me, that is an acceptable to the american people. these people have dedicated their lives to destroying us. these people have dedicated their very existence. why do you think when the judgment was made that if they released them, it would cause great risk to the united states of america? >> during a news conference tuesday in poland, president obama responded to the brewing controversy. >> that me just make a very simple point here, and that is, regardless of the circumstances, whatever the circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an
american soldier back that was held in captivity. period. full stop. we don't condition that. and that is what every mom and dad who sees a son or daughter sent over into war should expect from not just their commander-in-chief, but the united states of america. >> all of this comes as army officials now say they will pursue an investigation into whether bowe bergdahl should still be disciplined if they find evidence of misconduct, such as desertion. several of the men who served with bergdahl have taken to the media to call him a deserter. some have also blamed him for the deaths of six days soldiers. but "the new york times" reports that a review of casualty reports and military logs suggest the facts surrounding the deaths are far from definitive.
two of the soldiers who died during the most intense period of the search after bergdahl disappeared june 30, were inside an outpost that came under attack and not on patrol looking for him. the other six soldiers died in late august and early september. or more we're joined by two guests, in a, city, james branum is a lawyer who specializes in representing military deserters and conscientious objectors. he's also legal director for the obama center for content and action and author of, "u.s. army awol defense: a practical guide." in london, england, we're joined by charles glass, historian and former abc news chief the least correspondent. his book published just last year is, "the deserters: a hidden history of the second world war." he tells the stories of three men whose lives traumatize have a strainer for can push a soldier to the breaking point. they are among some 50,000 american soldiers who deserted in the european theater during world war ii. we welcome you both to democracy now!
james branum, let's begin with you. your response to the controversy that is growing around the release of bowe bergdahl? >> the most important thing we have to remember is we do not know the facts. yesterday in "the new york times," it was, the facts are murky. this is key. if the allegations are true, even then we have to say that what happened is the result of war is sell. this is not unexpected. war is messy. and get crazy. in this case, what has been alleged is that sergeant bergdahl was struggling with issues of conscience, that there were major concerns that he had. when people are under the strain of conscience, feeling like they're violating what they believe, a do things that may not be logical. if the allegation is correct that he left the post, this is
not something you do unless you believe you have no other choice but to violate your conscience. it effectively was a suicidal kind of act. in this case, though, it seems like he believed if true, it was a matter of either violate my conscience and stay or potentially suffer mild loss of life. it is unfortunate he did not know the full range of options yet under the law. one of the problems the military does not inform soldiers of their rights under the law to seek a discharge or seek other ways of relief. i think we have to look at the full context. fundamentally, we really don't know the facts yet. >> james branum, could you elaborate on that? what are some of the options available to soldiers who are struggling with their contents contentitions of war -- punche in conditions of war? >> military regulations allow
for service members carly member of the military to file an application for conscientious objector status. in that application, they must explain in detail in an essay format what they believe about war. he must show a few things. they must show their believes are sincere. but they're not motivated by cowardice but based upon their conscience. they have to show their beliefs are based on the the religious grounds or deep conscientious grounds. in other words, they are stunning from the core of their being. third, they must show they are opposed to all wars. you cannot pick and choose which one you're opposed to. you can't say, only support just wars. to alle to be opposed wars. finally, you have to show your police changed sometime after you listed. the reason for this is if you enlisted and had these believes, then you would have fraudulently listed. they ask you about this, at least in theory, when you enlist. but our military recognizes the
fact that a person's life can change. it could be religious conversion or dramatic experience. any things happen in a service members life. when those things happen, if they reach a point of service member can no longer serve without violating their conscience, they can apply for status. the challenges, it is a long process. the hearing before independent hearing officer and then because of command all the way up to branch level where final decision is made. it is not an easy process. it is a grueling process. that said, the process is there. the problem is, most service members do not know they have this right under the law. there's no obligation to the military for commanders to inform service members of this right. therefore, a right you don't know about effectively doesn't exist. this logic of the rent a decision, the supreme court said
a typical defendant may not know not talk the right to tal to the police. the same applies here. i think yours high likelihood sergeant bergdahl may have struggled with issues of conscience, but did not know this process was there. >> i want to go back to 2012 to the late reporter michael hastings who was writing for "rolling stone" about bowe bergdahl. he spoke on the tv network russia today about her gall's case -- bergdahl's case. >> first you have to look at, he was a 23-year-old kid who joined the army and expected he was going to go to afghanistan and how people and be involved in this nationbuilding and essentially committed training activity. what he found was completely different. he thought he had been told a lie. he thought he was not being treated with respect to the superior officer. there was a series command
problem within his unit within afghanistan. there was a serious break in command. one officer died and another got perspectivesof his were kicked out. that created a perfect storm. you have this disillusionment happening, plus all of these horrible things with war that drove him to the decision to leave. hastings, thehael "rolling stone" reporter who recently died. in his report, he talks about bowe bergdahl sending e-mails to his parents that suggested he had grown disillusioned with the afghanistan war. bergdahl sent a final e-mail to his parents on june 20 7, 3 days before he was captured five years ago. in it he wrote --
james branum? >> i think when we have to respect the profound sincerity and depth of what he is saying there. he is speaking as someone who is seen firsthand what the american machine is about. he is responding from a very visceral place. one can't help but be moved by that. the challenge here was there were no good options -- at least that he understood, and he likely understood. even of yet applied for conscientious objector status, that would not get him out of that deployment. he was still be there. the only thing the radiation says that would change the situation is he would not be required to carry a gun and be given duties that conflict as
little as possible with his believes. the problem in this situation is that when you are in a forward operating position like this, when you're on deployment, not having a gun is pretty much a death sentence. you are in an incredibly vulnerable position and your entire unit is made vulnerable by you. even if yet exercised his rights in this situation, there were no good options. his best option may have been to wait until his next leave cannes, go home and then apply for the status. effectively, if he was struggling at that level of visceral emotion, there were no good options. i think we have to have a lot of sympathy for someone in that situation. effectively, if you look at it, the decision to leave and what has been alleged that he left his unit with minimal equipment and whatnot, it certainly sounded to me like this is a guy who was struggling. this is a guy who did not know what to do, and he made the best
decision he could at the moment. i think we can't judge that. one thing i would also say in this scenario, i've heard variations on this over and over of service members who join the military wanting to help people wanting to do humanitarian service. they get there and it is nothing like that. many struggle. news, maybe not in that situation, but there is hope. the g.i. rights hotline is one organization in particular that does a lot of work on the front lines. these are groups that provide counsel to service members who are facing these crisis situations. unfortunately, for service member who is on deployment who may be away from the post were somewhere war they don't have access to the phone or internet and a regular basis, it makes it difficult to get the help they need. that is one thing we have to take into consideration. also, even if the allegations are true, the question is, is
punishment appropriate? i would argue it is not. even if the military deems them to be a deserter, sergeant bergdahl was imprisoned in a very difficult situation for five years. no u.s. military deserter in the current era has received more than 24 months in prison. most, six months or less. most of received jail time at all. he effectively has artie serve more jail time than anyone ever has in the modern era, lease in school for --at least since gulf war one. given that, there is no reason to punish them. at worst, he should receive a discharge or court-martial. personally, i believe he should receive a full honorable discharge. >> this morning on msnbc "morning joe," half, if not the majority, the guest and host said he should not have been saved. given his political views.
>> that is insane. in our country we don't sacrifice our servicemembers based on their political beliefs. that is disgusting. and bear in mind in this case, the situation, the prisoners we exchanged, and a lot of facts we don't know yet, but fundamentally, the situation of the inmates at guantánamo has been untenable for a long time. these are people who have not had their day in court, either. personally, to return people who have been under the situation, even if they have done terrible things, to me, is a favorable thing to release these people anyway. whatever it took to get bergdahl home, to me, was appropriate. >> we want to thank you, james branum, for being here. lawyer for military deserters and content as objectors. he is author of, "u.s. army awol defense: a practical guide." when we come back, charles glass joins us. he himself was held hostage for months.
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. in our next segment we will talk about the fifth anniversary of the death of the doctor who performed abortions, george tiller. today we continue with the growing controversy around bowe bergdahl, the prisoner of war who was released this past weekend. >> as we continue to look at his case and the issue of military deserters, we are joined in london by charles glass. he is a historian and former abc news chief and least correspondent. was published last
year, "the deserters: a hidden history of the second world war." charles glass, welcome to democracy now! could you tell us how you have responded to the release of bowe bergdahl given your research on military desertion in the second world war? >> like most people, i was glad to see any serviceman who is been held hostage released. his experience is not unlike that of some of the deserters i wrote about in my book. i remember one, british servicemen who witnessed something very horrible and north africa which was issa members of his own unit looting the bodies of their fallen comrades on the battlefield. this sent him into such a psychological state of mind that he simply wandered away through the desert in what he called a fugue, a flight from reality. it reminds me somewhat of what
then private bergdahl might have felt that night when he was on sentry duty, when he wandered off without a weapon into the unknown. it sounds like a similar sort of fugue to the british soldier were he did not really know where he was going or what he was doing. >> before we talk more about bergdahl, can you talk about your own experience, charles glass, having been taken hostage yourself? >> i was taken by hezbollah in lebanon in the 1980's at a time when america and europeans in beirut, lebanon were fair game. beforemay remember, just my kidnapping, at the beginning of 1987, it had all come out that the reagan administration was extreme jane weapons -- .xchanging weapons the republicans might recall the
iran-contra affair and the president exchanging weapons for hostages now changing prisoners of war for prisoners of war. >> there's been a lot of coverage over the last few days of fellow soldiers on television talking about their anger at bowe bergdahl for what they call deserting. but in terms of the political views of the soldiers who were with bowe bergdahl at the time, yesterday on democracy now!, we had a fascinating discussion with "the guardian" reporter and photographer sean smith who actually embedded with the unit in 2009, a month before bowe bergdahl left the base. unitbedded with bergdahl's in afghanistan. in this clip, we hear from some of the soldiers who were
together with bergdahl. >> these people just want to be left alone. >> they got dicked from the russians for 17 years and we are here. these people just want to be left alone. >> i'm glad we leave them alone. >> a few weeks later, bowe bergdahl disappeared. the circumstances are unclear. videot is from the 2009 for "the guardian" produced by sean smith, the film maker. michael hastings wrote about that video in 2012 report for "rolling stone," noting the footage of the soldiers break even the most a sick rules of combat like when baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets.
but very critical of what they were doing in afghanistan. certainly, if the reports are accurate and the e-mail is accurate that he sent his parents, bowe bergdahl was not alone in his disillusionment, charles glass. >> we know from many soldiers who came back from vietnam and iraq and afghanistan that they'll disapprove of what the country was doing in those countries. they were invaders and occupiers who were telling their soldiers they were there as liberators and helping to build the country, discovered it was completely different from what they thought. i'm not surprised to hear those voices from the men in bergdahl 's unit, because they went through what he went through, which was terrible disillusionment. and my own research in the second world war, the front-line soldiers and all most all of the deserters in the second world war were from the frontlines,
the very small minority of men who actually were in combat in the second world war. none of their comrades on the turn them iner because many had felt that same impulse themselves. they were under such pressure because one of the considerations they have that they might just run away one day -- it was the rear soldiers who never saw combat who would in the event turn those deserters into be court-martialed. men at the front lines go through all kinds of emotions, conflicting emotions, and sometimes they have such trauma and stress that they crack. they inflict wounds on themselves to get out of battle, runaway. the man beside them understand that better than those who were in offices. >> charles glass, in your research, you found the leadership of the battalion plays a significant role in the number of desertions from a particular battalion. could you elaborate on the significance of that?
>> for example, in the 36th 36th infantry, the desertion rates were out of proportion to other divisions fighting similar battles. in part because the officers themselves have such little time to train and weren't effective leaders. in another in it, murphy, the most highly decorated of all the american serviceman who served in world war ii, he worked his way up through the ranks from private to captain. he was leading his company. he describes when one of his men broke down and had clear battlefield trauma and could not fight anymore. instead of sending them for court-martial as some of the commanders in the 36 division did, he's and him for medical and psychiatric treatment. there were psychiatrists. about 25% of all wounds the second world war were
psychological and not physical. >> charles glass, you write that thousands of american soldiers were convicted of desertion during the war. the numbers are astounding just of deserters. 50,000 americans, 100,000 british soldiers during world war ii. but 49 were sentenced to death. most were given years of hard labor. one soldier was actually executed. he is army private from detroit named eddie slovik. she was killed by firing squad january 31, 1945, making him the american soldier, the only -- the first american soldier to be court-martialed and executed for desertion since the american civil war. talk about him and the number of people who deserted and then was -- who was actually punished. >> eddie slovik never actually fought. she arrived in france well after d-day. he was sent as an infantry replacement to an area he did not know anyone and would not
knowing when. as soon as he arrives, he came under severe shelling. he was deeply shocked. you are shaken. you probably should have been sent medially for medical treatment and might have been able to serve after that. in the event was so frightened, he told his officers that he could not fight and he wouldn't fight and was incapable of it. they then were forced to court-martial him. he was convicted and sentenced to death, as many -- as 48 others were. but when he launched his appeal i'm a the timing couldn't of been worse because the battle of the bulge had begun in the military did not want to be seen to be condoning desertion, so they carried out his execution. in a strange kind of military logic, they said they wanted to make an example of him but the cap the execution secret. it wasn't really known until 1948 when william bradford julie otis first article about eddie slovik, in which he did not even name him.
no one knew about it. it wasn't much of an example. the time he was shot, the battle of the bulge was ending. fox what happened to the remaining 48? eddie slovik was the first is order to be executed since the american civil war. >> first and last for desertion. may soldiers were executed during the second world war for rape, murder, and other civilian crimes, but eddie slovik was the only one executed for desertion. by his own admission, he said he was a victim of very bad luck and that if he hadn't been -- he was annexed con, petty criminal before entering the army. he might not have been executed. he was right. she was very, very unlucky. >> charles glass, him any of were many of those w deserters for conscientious
reasons? >> in world war ii, it wasn't the same as in the enamel or iraq or afghanistan. the soldiers who deserted weren't conscientiously opposed to fighting imperial japan ornazi germany, they simply had severe battlefield trauma and they wandered away from the battlefield because they just could not take it anymore. it was there only mechanism for survival. many of them when they reported back were given medical treatment and went back to the front lines. many were court-martialed. it was on was arbitrary which would be depending on the superior officer who made the decision. i came across almost no cases of people who were opposed to the war in principle. they did not serve in the military in any case. it wasn't the same issue as it would be in the post-world war ii wars that america fought. >> your final reflections, charles glass, having written
this book and now sing the story play out of the release of bowe bergdahl after five years being held by the taliban, clearly before he left his base expressing antiwar views? it is a call for compassion. we have to understand what he was going through. the young person at the front line, having believed in his country's mission in afghanistan discovering it was not at all what he was told it was, saw himself as part of the mechanism of oppression, of killing people, of going into villages and try to take out enemy combatants and killing families. what that does to a young man -- i think we will have to wait and see what he says when he leaves germany and finally allowed to speak publicly. i hope you'll understand what he went through -- we will understand what he went through and have compassion for him and his family. it is not really an issue of how
patriotic he is. he was clearly patriotic enough to join the army in the first place. he certainly believed in his country enough to do that. but in a way, his country led him down -- let him down. >> charles glass, thank you for being with us. his book, "the deserters: a hidden history of the second world war." when we come back, we go to the fifth anniversary of the murder of dr. george tiller. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
was assassinated five years ago saturday. dr. tiller was one of a handful of doctors in the country provided abortions in the third trimester pregnancy. he faced constant threats and attacks. his clinic was fire bombed 1985. eight years later, he survived an assassination attempt with gunshot wounds to both arms. then on may 31, 2009, anti-choice extremist scott roeder entered dr. tiller's church in wichita, kansas and shot him in the head. dr. tiller was 67 years old. today we remember dr. tiller by speaking with the doctor who is carrying on his legacy, providing abortions at his former clinic in wichita, which reopened last year. but first, this is dr. george tiller in his own words come is speaking in 2001. it is an outtake from a documentary by physicians for reproductive health called "voices of choice." histiller talks about how father, family dr., provided abortions before it was legal. >> i don't know whether he did
100 abortions or 200 abortions or 300 abortions. i think it may have been something like 200 over of about 20 years. but i don't know for sure. i don't know how many abortions he did, but the women in my father's practice for whom he did abortions educated me and taught me that abortion is not about babies, not about families, abortion is about women's hopes and dreams from a potential the rest of their lives. abortion is a matter of survival for women. >> dr. george tiller. he was assassinated five years ago on may 31, 2009. since his death, access to abortion has been diminishing. more abortion restrictions were enacted from 2011-2013 than in the tire previous decade. oklahoma enacted in a mating privileges law last week that could close to up the states three clinics.
louisiana is poised to follow suit with similar law. a similar measure has already shatter providers in texas. for more we go to dr. cheryl chastine, medical director primary abortion provider at the south wind women center, which opened last year. each week she travels from chicago to wichita to provide abortions and dr. taylor's former clinic. dr. chastain has faced a barrage of anti-choice for respite. out of concern for safety, she's keeping her face in shadow. she joins us now from chicago. dr. chastain, welcome to democracy now! why do you choose not to show your face today on this broadcast? tillerreason that dr. was targeted or was able to be targeted so extensively is largely because he was extremely knew where heople was and what he was doing.
so he was in a position where all of his movements were being tracked. his murder was made possible by the fact that people knew exactly where he was and what he was doing, and they knew he would be in church at that particular time. it was the only consistent thing to do. as of right now, the people who are opposed to what i am doing don't have a very clear idea of what i look like. so for my physical safety, i feel much more secure that way. >> to talk about what you're doing. wichitai travel to every week and i perform ofrtions for the women wichita in central and western kansas as well as some of oklahoma. we provide procedures up to the current kansas legal limit, which is 20 weeks post conception or 21 weeks and six
days post last menstrual. could you talk about why it is you decided to do this work? you fly every week from chicago to wichita. talk about the significance of what you're doing and why you chose to do it. know, when i was in medical school, i got the message that there is a shortage of abortion providers and that, us, ande, if more of putting myself, did not become providers, there would be women who not be able to access abortion when they needed it. when i got the call to open or to help open this clinic, i felt a very strong pool of moral of moraln --pull obligation that these are people who need abortions that will be
able to access them if i don't do it. ask myself, if you don't do this, who will? i went to medical school to help people, same as all of us do. people haveke these a need and i have the ability to fill that need, so i could not in good conscience say no. >> can you talk about the restrictions on abortion access in kansas? who are the women you're serving? what states do they come from? strict laws that are nonetheless less strict than some of the surrounding states. so kansas has a mandated 24-hour waiting period. the patient must be given a information that includes risks of abortion, some of which are not medically supported. then she must wait at least 24 hours before she can have her
procedure done. onsas has bands not only medicaid coverage of abortion, but also private insurance coverage of abortion. and so all of our patients are paying out-of-pocket for the procedure, which is a significant amount, particularly for the women who disproportionately seek abortion who tend to be from lower income brackets. are required by state law to meet privately with the physician and also to have an ultrasound and we offer the opportunity to view the ultrasound. they're required to wait at least 30 minutes before they can be given any medication after meeting with the doctor. kansas also requires dual notarized parental consent for anyone under age 18.
areso the women i see accepting of this, mostly, but they are very aware that the state is intruding into the relationship with the doctor so many will ask, why do i have to wait? why do i have to do this? thethe answer is, because state of kansas is hoping that you will change your mind in this time period. but we have women, nonetheless, coming from all over the state of kansas. kansas has four clinics counting hours, but three are in the kansas city area, which is in the northeast corner of the state. the central and western kansas is pretty much served by our clinic. we have patients come from missouri, from oklahoma, and we're even started see patients from texas as the legal climate there in the availability of abortion becomes less. >> last year, david leach from
the extremist anti-choice group army of god posted audio from a jailhouse conversation with dr. tiller's murder or, scott roeder , where they talked about the reopening of the clinic in wichita. this is david leach. >> my statement, if someone would shoot the abortionists like scott shot george tiller back in the operation rescue days, people call him tiller the killer, hardly anyone will appreciate it but the babies. >> and this is scott roeder,
tiller's order responding. he mentions founder and director of the woman's trust foundation which reopened dr. tiller's clinic. >> walked in there and reopen a illnic, a murder mail -- m where a man was stopped. it is almost like putting a target on your back. saying, well, see if you can shoot me, you know? >> that was scott roeder, who murdered dr. tiller five years ago, speaking to david leach. you aretain, you carrying on the legacy of dr.
tiller's work. would you respond? >> i want to be very, very clear accepte murder and other violence against abortion providers are acts of terrorism. they are acts of terrorism design at a few people who are influencing the action of many people. and so they're putting the statement out there, using this language that is clearly intended to incite someone else from as they say elsewhere in that clip, to take action and to stop other providers. people,hese are admittedly they are on the fringe of the anti-choice movement, there nonetheless encouraged -- they are encouraged by the mainstream
movement. they are encouraged by rhetoric by comparing abortion to the holocaust, comparing it to slavery. is -- these are extremists, but they're operating within a very fertile ground of sentiment. >> dr. chastain, are you afraid? >> yes. >> are you afraid? i can't live my life that way. andt up in the morning there are patients that need me. if i allow myself to be detergent during this work, -- detergent during this work, then i am allowing for terrorism. i am aware there is a risk associated with what i am doing,
to but i don't allow it paralyze me. >> dr. chastain, thank you for being with us. you were in medical school when dr. tiller was murdered five years ago. i want to end with a short excerpt of dr. tiller in his own inds in an event organized 2008. dr. tiller discussed his vision for a just and more humane society. >> i personally see a society that respects the integrity of withitizens to struggle complex health issues, make decisions that are appropriate for them and their personal lives. i see a society that respects the religious differences of its citizens. i see a society that rejects hate, rejects judgmental condemnation, and rejects prejudice and racism. i see a government that honors the privacy of its citizens without unwarranted surveillance. i see a society where war is not an option.
and the negotiation with mutual respect is the hallmark rather than mutual self-destruction. i see a society where the welfare of all, where the welfare of all is equally important than just a few. solutions without demanding answers. petulant,ven war, hate, greed, ego, self-sufficiency a good try and it failed. [laughter] hiseed a new paradigm that kindness, courtesy, justice, love, and respect in all our relationships. >> that was dr. george tiller, assassinated a 31st, 2009 in his own church on sunday. that does it for our broadcast. .hanks to cheryl chastine
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